7-Eleven Customers In Utah Possibly Exposed To Hepatitis A

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Health officials suspect link to recent outbreak to store employee.

Authorities say that people who visited the 7-Eleven, located at 2666 West 7800 South, between December 26 and January 3 are at risk, especially if they used the bathroom or consumed certain specific items like fresh fruit, fountain drinks, or anything from the hot food case.

According to Daily Mail, as many as 2,000 people in Salt Lake County may have gotten hepatitis A after visiting a local 7-Eleven store where one of its employees was diagnosed with the virus and still came to work during their infectious period.

Those who used any restroom, drank a fountain drink, ate fresh fruit or any item from the store's hot food case, including pizza, hot dogs, chicken wings or taquitos are at risk, the department reports.

The press release states that packaged items, including bottled beverages and microwaved food, are not to be included in the possible exposure.

The possible exposure affects only this 7-Eleven location, officials said.

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It is likely the employee was infected with hepatitis A as part of a larger outbreak which has been ongoing in Salt Lake County since August 2017, according to the health department.

7-Eleven didn't respond to a request from CSD for a comment on the situation, or the course of action the company is now pursuing.

Officials said 7-Eleven is cooperating with the health department's investigation and has sanitized the store according to health department recommendations. The phone line will be staffed from 8 a.m.to 5 p.m. beginning Monday, and health department staff will screen callers for exposure risk and provide them with options for receiving a prophylactic hepatitis A vaccine, health officials said.

"It's also important the food handlers be conscientious with hygiene, hand washing and not working when ill", he continued, "and that managers be vigilant in enforcing those important requirements that protect public health". Hepatitis A is an extremely contagious virus that infects the liver.

Pam Davenport, spokesperson for the health department, told Mail Online that right now, it's too soon tell how many people are affected, as the symptoms can take anywhere from a few weeks to a month to surface. He says it's rare for a person exposed to develop an acute illness, but if it does happen it can seriously damage the liver and in rare cases be life threatening.

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